Apr 22, 2021
Photo by VYPE Media
Being the setter at The Woodlands is the equivalent of being the starting running back for Katy in football. It's one of the most coveted positions in all of high school sports in the state of Texas.
Here’s the lineage of former Highlanders hard-court quarterbacks. Courtney Eckenrode (2 State Titles and played at Missouri), passed the baton to Sophie Walls (played at Penn State), who passed the torch to Clara Brower (Georgia). That’s some great company.
After Brower came Claire Dewine, who led the Highlanders to the Class 6A Region II Championship match in 2021. The 6-foot-1 setter-outside hitter was the District 13-6A Offensive MVP and first-team, all-state selection as a junior and is a nightmare matchup for opponents.
“When I was eight years old, my club team coaches moved me up to the 10-year- old team,” Dewine said. “When I was nine, I was playing with the 12s. I just got used to playing with older girls and that’s how I got good.
“My versatility came from playing beach. You have to be able to do everything when it’s just two of you out there. I played so much beach during the pandemic when the gyms were shut down and it really helped my game.”
Dewine has had an interesting ride during her high school career. She was on varsity as a freshman for the Highlanders, before moving to The Woodlands Christian Academy as a sophomore.
“My brother went to TWCA and my family was very familiar with the school,” she said. “I wanted to try a smaller school and I liked it a lot. The academics, coaching and facilities were great, but I just needed to get back to the big-school level.”
She was an all-state selection and led the Warriors to a district title.
Her high school and club play with Houston Juniors propelled her onto the recruiting scene. She had several offers and committed to Colgate in the fall.
“It’s a pretty academic school and when I went on my visit I just fell in love with the team and the campus,” she said of the Hamilton, New York school. “I’m going to study economics and I’d like to do something in business in the future. I just felt that Colgate was the best place to set me up in the future.”
While Dewine seems to have the world on a string, she will be playing with a heavy heart this year. She lost her father in June as he battled pancreatic cancer.
“It’s been pretty hard,” she said. “I know he’s in a better place and not in so much pain anymore. I’m focusing on the positive. He was my biggest fan and really understood the game and my potential.”
With a guardian angel looking over her, she and the Highlanders could have a magical season.
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Recently, Daniel Perez won the VYPE ATX Public School Preseason Defensive Linemen of the Year Fan Poll. Going into his senior year, Perez looks to leave a lasting legacy at Canyon. VYPE was given the opportunity to catch up with DeLeon as he heads into his senior year that includes a new district.
VYPE: First off let's talk about Canyon. The last 2 years have been kind of a roller coaster for the team. Made it to Round 3 two years ago and then last year you missed the playoffs losing a few close district games in the process. Y'all have a new look district this year, what are you and the team focusing on to take that next step this year?
PEREZ: Our team this year has a saying, “Do something that has never been done before”. I feel we are a completely new team then what we were last year in how committed our guys are this year.
VYPE: Now on to you, who do you try and emulate your game off of?
PEREZ: My older brother, he was a big inspiration on the field for me in how hard he works.
VYPE: What have you been working on personally this offseason?
PEREZ: This off-season I’ve been working on my strength and speed off the ball and quickness.
VYPE: What are some personal goals for you this season?
PEREZ: A personal goal for me this off-season is to defensive MVP for our district.
VYPE: If I'm not mistaken you're still currently uncommitted. What are you looking for in a potential college school?
PEREZ: Just looking for a place that fits and feels like home to me.
VYPE: What is your pre-game routine?
PEREZ: My pre game routine is kind of simple, I’ll usually just listen to music and psych myself up and get into the zone before running out of that tunnel
VYPE: What has been your greatest memory as playing for New Braunfels Canyon so far?
PEREZ: Greatest memory has to be scoring a touchdown last year against Clark, I haven’t been able to do that since I was a little kid.
VYPE: Finally outside of the game of football, what's one of your favorite things to do off the field?
PEREZ: One of my favorite things to do outside of the field is to just lift weights, it’s become like second nature to me now.
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Joshua Waclawczyk (VYPE Media)
Practice has begun and athletes have been given the green light to start working out in pads marking the official start of the Texas high school football season. As teams continue preparing for their preseason schedule, many fans are taking to the VYPE DFW fan polls to vote for players they believe deserve preseason honors. Arlington Grace Prep inside linebacker and running back, Bryce Prince, recently won the VYPE DFW Preseason Private School Football Defensive Player of the Year Fan Poll. Following Prince's win, VYPE DFW caught up with the incoming sophomore in an exclusive interview.
To read the full interview, become a VYPE Insider today!
Offseason Focus leads to Success
For an athlete to be truly great at what they do, they must reman focused and sharpened throughout their offseason. For Prince, this includes working hard to get to where he wants to be. "I stay focused during the off season by training with a personal trainer and specialized coach to improve my skills," Prince told VYPE.
By working with people who help him become the best that he can be, Prince has been successful so far with Arlington Grace Prep. "The secret to my personal success [last season] was personal experience and teamwork," Prince opened up about his first year with Grace Prep. I have been playing football since the age of four, however, having a great team and great coaches helped me succeed last year."
Speaking of the team, Grace Prep put up an incredible season last fall. With a 10-1 overall record and a 91% win percentage, the Lions went undefeated in regular season play (7-0) as they plowed their way into playoffs. "In my opinion, the secret to the team's success was accountability and talent," Prince said. "We had a great, talented team- from the freshmen to the seniors."
Mindset and Goals
As the season gets rolling, there are many things to look forward to. For Prince it all boils down to getting to play. "I am most looking forward to starting on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. In the past I've played defense, but this year I will play on both sides of the ball-- running back and linebacker-- which is exciting to me," Prince started.
"My mind is set on winning a state championships," he continued. "My individual goals going into the season are to make 70+ tackles and surpass my total from last season. I want to perform better than I did last year and lead the team in tackles."
With the ability to keep a great mindset as he has played football, Prince has been extremely accomplished in his career so far. "My biggest accomplishment so far," Prince opened up, "was being the second leader on the team in tackles and third in rushing yards as only a freshman." During his success last season, Prince had one of his favorite memories with the Lions: "Making two significant plays during the game-- a sack and a rushing touchdown."
A Bright Future
Although there is still plenty of time to decide what the future has in store for him when he closes the chapter on his high school career, Prince has already started thinking about college and the potential for playing football in a college program. "I am looking for a program that provides a good education, environment, and a great football program," Prince said.
Prince is hoping to major in meteorology. "I've always been interested in the weather and I love science."
Who is your favorite pro football team?
As an athlete, who do you most look up to?
"I look up to Saquan Barkley because he is a versatile player-- which is what I aspire to be."
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you hope to talk about?
"I would love to go to dinner with Saquan Barkley and talk about his plays and workout regime."
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